My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Threes! is an Engaging Mathematics Puzzle Game for Apple iOS - Sudoku in Multiples of Three


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Threes! is an Engaging Mathematics Puzzle Game for Apple iOS - Sudoku in Multiples of Three

“I'm happy to develop for any platform, but currently I find mobile Games the most interesting. They're so fresh and different and unsolved. Also there's a lot of crap out there and my goal right now is to prove that quality and mobile are not mutually exclusive. I don't really have a dream Game because I just enjoy solving interesting problems. Currently the next big problem I've been dwelling on is about the question of how to tell a good story on mobile. So there's that”

Game Designer Asher Vollmer of Sirvo LLC  in an interview with told Joystiq on Thursday January 30th 2014

It’s Valentine’s weekend! But if you’re reading this, then you must be very lonely indeed after the death of Flappy Bird!

This as Animation is a field closely related to Game Development and apparently can net you as much as US$50,000 per day for a really good Game App. That is, at least until Animation picks up in Jamaica with the coming of more Animation studios as reported in “More Production Studios, Professionals Needed For Local Animation Industry”, Published Friday February 14, 2014, by Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

So I’ve decided to preview yet another great Game that a great replacement for Flappy Bird but is a little more on the Educational side: Threes! as recommended by MacWorld and CNET News in their respective articles “Staff Picks: Forget Flappy Bird, you want to play Threes”, published Feb 12, 2014 10:47 AM by Serenity Caldwell, Macworld and “Mobile puzzle Game Threes is a design marvel worth your time”, published February 6, 2014 1:11 PM PST by Nick Statt, CNET News.

Three’s Gameplay is Engaging – Like Sudoku only in Multiples of Three

Available currently on Apple iTunes as of the time of doing this review the US$1.99 Threes! is a mathematical number puzzler that a cross between Candy Crush Saga and Sudoku, be it the App or the dog-eared booklet that you back out and solve while waiting on your Bus to come. The Game is much simpler than its mathematically-suggestive name implies and it’s Gameplay is very engaging as described in “Casual yet challenging as you go for high scores”, published 2/07/14, CNET Reviews.

The board layout is a 4 x 4 field of number that you slide up and down or sideways. Each idle swipe will result in new numbers jumping onto the board, so you gotta make every move count. The aim is really to swipe 1’s and 2’s, which are colour coded in blue and red respectively, to make sums of multiples of three. So 1 plus 2 equals 3.

From that point on you can only slide together tiles that add up to a multiple of threes e.g. you can slide two 3’s together to make 6’s, two 6’s together to make 12’s, two 12’s to make 24’s etc.

The higher the score is achieved by carefully planning your swipes so that the board doesn’t get too crowded with extra smaller value tiles due to unnecessary moves and making as large a multiple of three as possible.

Trust me, even if you not a math whiz, once you’ve gotten past the US$1.99 price and played one Game, you’ll see why it was worth the price. Just like playing Sudoku, the second play will have you hooked. If you’ve ever played Sudoku, you’ll realized number-puzzlers, especially once so well designed, are never boring!

Design is everything in Threes! - Sirvo LLC only fault is not bringing Android to the party

Sirvo LLC is the Developer that designed this mathematical bit of App wizardry. Their Design Team consists of - you guessed it - three (3) Game Developer Professionals that contributed uniquely to Threes! Unique Gameplay:

1.      Game Designer Asher Vollmer of indie Game studio thatGamecompany (remember Flower and Journey!??)
2.      Illustrator Greg Wohlwend who work speak to you from Games such as the Game app Ridiculous Fishing
3.      Composer Jimmy Hinson who did pieces for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Mass Effect 2

They'd worked before on the Mobile Game app Puzzlejuice on the Apple iTunes Store in 2012, so this is a reunion of sorts for the trio, as you can see elements of Threes! In PuzzleJuice. More importantly, it should serve as inspiration of wanna-be Game Designers; this is just a team of Three (no pun intended!) that made this Game that’s Tres Magnifique (yes that was deliberate!).

My main grouse with this Game is that it’s not on Google Android. Just a well; free-ness reigns supreme on the Google Play Store, as App Developers make significantly more on Apple iTunes where Gamers pay top dollar for a well-designed App!

Threes! A Company of Developers – Inspiration to Game Developers in Jamaica

So if they can “mash a works” with a three-man team in a few months and produce quality in the spare time (I’m assuming they do have day jobs) then making a Game App as I’ve described in my blog article entitled “Animation after Kingstoon - How to make a Video Game for PC, Smartphone and Tablet” should not seem so far-fetched.

Best of all this is a paid App; at US$1.99! A local Game Designer in Jamaica would keep at least 70% of the sales on Apple iTunes, with even more sales once the Game goes on Google Play Store.

Freemium is not a bad model, especially if it’s a In-App Advertising model like Flappy Bird as described in my blog article entitled “Developer Dong Nguyen takes down US$50000 a day Flappy Bird App - Unwanted Media Attention leaves DotGears Game as the first In-App Advertising Gaming App”.

But Games like Threes! Help to prove that when it comes to making great Games for smartphones and Tablets, nothing tickles the brain better than a mathematical puzzler, Sudoku style!

Here’s the link to the Game as well as other Games designed by members of the trio in the past!

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